I am slowly getting settled here in Lilongwe. I have moved here for a few weeks, or maybe months (we’ll see), to work out of the head office while I start on some new projects. While it’s good to be back in a bigger city and a treat to take advantage of all the comforts the city provides - regular access to email, a variety of food options, more consistent power, etc. – however, I am also very, very much missing my family in Machinga and the comfort and support that I had there. It’s amazing how much these others things (email, food options and power, for example) don’t mean as much as family and support. Moving and having to adjust to a new city, new projects at work and a new home has been a bit overwhelming but slowly as I settle into a new routine it is getting easier.
I am living with the fiancé of Enellece, a Malawian friend of mine from Machinga. Frank is a tobacco breeder, who works for an agricultural research trust, experimenting with different tobacco strains, trying to breed varieties that are higher yielding, more resistant to pest attacks or certain climate conditions. Tobacco, or “green gold” as it is called here, is Malawi’s biggest export crop. I would’ve thought “green gold” would be maize as it is grown everywhere but apparently it is grown predominantly for local consumption and does not bring in much, if any, export money. Tobacco, therefore, is a very important crop and a lot of money and effort is spent on ensuring its successful production.
We also live with, and I share a room with, Frank’s cousin Grace. She is a 23 year old who is doing a diploma at a local college in business administration. She is quite sweet and has become something like a little sister. She likes to do my hair up in curlers and then get it all styled so I look “quite smart”. I think it just looks big! We play cards in the evening or I teach her some basic computer skills. I was quite worried when I moved in that I had invaded her room, and with all my stuff, it’s not like my presence can go unnoticed! But despite the invasion, she seems happy to have another girl in the house to do things with and I am very happy for the company as well.
So there have been many changes recently but as things settle down I’m becoming more comfortable again. The small town girl is getting used to the big city! I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into my new projects at work. They all seem a bit overwhelming at the moment but hopefully, as I work away at them, they will become more manageable.
Stay warm and I’ll try to stay dry! The rain is becoming almost daily now!